Phone Scoop

printed August 29, 2014
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Review: iPhone 3GS

Form Basics Extras Video Wrap-Up Comments  21  

Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Touch  

Screen

The display of the iPhone 3GS is identical to that of last year's model save for the smudge-proof coating. It is very viewable outside, nice and bright, and looks great. I would have preferred to see a larger display with more resolution, though. Some of Apple's competitors have busted out really high-rez AMOLED screens that look fantastic. I suppose that's something to look forward to with the iPhone 2010...

Signal

I could not find any difference in the signal performance of the iPhone 3GS when compared to the iPhone 3G. It did pretty well. It barely survived the NJ vault test (the local ShopRite). In our limited time testing it, we didn't miss or drop any calls. But, truth to tell, in using the iPhone and iPhone 3G all over the U.S. and in some places overseas, I can tell you straight up that many other phones offer superior signal performance. Bottom line: Don't be surprised if the iPhone 3GS drops calls here and there.

Sound

The iPhone 3GS sounds better than the iPhone 3G, which sounded better than the original. Calls are clearer, less noise, less echo, and less garbling. The earpiece is also slightly louder, but not overly so. Music playback did not sound appreciably different compared to either the iPhone or iPhone 3G. Ringers can be made loud enough for most in-home environments, but it is still lacking compared to others when it comes to outdoor environments.

I thought call quality was decent overall. I compared it directly with the Nokia E75 and BlackBerry Storm, and believe it or not, callers sounded better on the iPhone. Not only better, but louder, too.

Battery

Apple claims that the new iPhone 3GS has better battery performance than the iPhone 3G did. We've only had the thing for a few days, so we can only report on what we've seen. I had the iPhone 3GS fully charged at 5PM on the 19th. At 9PM on the 20th, it still had a 50% charge. In the 28 hours it was on, I used TweetDeck heavily, listened to some music, shot pictures and about 10 minutes worth of video, took several phones calls, sent numerous text messages and so on. I don't really expect to get more than one full day's use out of it during work days when I receive tons of email, use it a lot for phone calls, and so on. Of course, we have yet to determine that, and will let you know the results when we do.

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